Skip to main content

Bamboo-zled.

Not by my hand! 

Enter great doubt, as I sit in my first ever Sumi-e class, cost 45 dollars. Michael Hofmann, the artist who painted our Tea house Fusuma (rice paper doors), taught the class. 

As I learned how to paint each leaf, I started calculating: Each day, about 40 cents of income. Each stroke, about 5 cents (a 3 hour class for 45 dollars), max earning potential as a Zen priest in 6 to 9 years, maybe 600 a month, past earning potential about 50,000 a year, and the cost of a baby someday? I have no idea. 

This is what I call "Money-Meditation." It's about as much fun as "How-many-hours-of-sleep-did-I-get-last-night?-meditation" or the "Am-I-actually-loosing-my-teeth?-meditation."

I only know one answer to great doubt: Do nothing, drink boiled water, and sit Zazen. This demi-god of Mara is like the T-Rex- the more you move, the more it will chase you. 

Only took 6-months: Noted, thank you very much. 

So, I have great doubt about my path a Zen priest, and I avow to do absolutely nothing about it and follow the way right before me, which is wake up, sit, work, eat, work, sit, study, relax, relax, relax into every moment. 

Crazy huh? But I've been here before. You wouldn't have to dig to deep into this blog to see that. 

Dragons and elephants, bring me your illusions! 

Comments

  1. Sometimes, doing nothing is the hardest thing. We humans have a tendency to want to "do" something - anything - when something we don't like comes up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I laughed out loud at "Am-I-actually-loosing-my-teeth?" meditations...

    Rock on. Or....be a rock?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bamboo is amazing! Have you ever tried to cut it? If it is more than 1/4 inch thick you need a saw! And as Carolyn said in her dharma talk, something about putting your self in a bamboo tube of practice. I can't remember what it meant but I liked the image. As you just follow the path right in front of you I'll be doing the same thing on my own path, right next to yours.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here we are. Today, one last bad event led me to decide to leave my church (of 30 years). This is all internal; just a click in me. My feet feel very firm, the ground feels good. I feel ready for this - and hadn't consciously contemplated it for years. (If you're curious, you can read about it on my blog, Tina's memorial service.) Sit down. Stand up. Walk. Maybe sometime it'll be Walk Out. You'll know.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Boredom and Buddhism

To say I feel bored feels disrespectful. How could that be? I have a three month old daughter, I'm training for a demanding job in the temple, I'm a wilderness medic responding to incidents every 4 days or so, and I'm sewing my priest robes for ordination. And I have this sense of disinterest.

I have a few theories as to why I feel bored. One could be the natural come down from having the baby and becoming stable in our schedule. Another come down plays out in the adrenaline crash after responding to a medical emergency or the general up keep work I do at the temple when compared to fixing something crucial to operations. When I hear there's a fire in the area I'm pretty excited to be mobilized for stay and defend duty. I feel pretty guilty about that, too.

So I read Beyond Boredom and Depression by Ajahn Jagaro and I was reminded to be careful about looking outward by this passage:

So what is boredom? It is a subjective experience that occurs when the mind is not i…

Goodbye Green Gulch Sama! Hello Tassajara!

About two years ago I left Mid City Zen in New Orleans. I feared I was leaving something, and now I'm about to leave Green Gulch and that same fear has arisen. I imagined there was wealth, a sort of freedom, and a lot to "renounce."  I had a car (a fast one!), a playstation 3, many books, many articles of clothing, and as I look around our little cabin, that same perception has arisen- I have too much stuff! And I like it!

My book collection that I sold or gave away in New Orleans has somehow manifested out here. And I have quite the collection of farm hats and farm boots. Rubber ones, Redwings, Ropers, Bogs to the ankle, Bogs to the knee, a navy seal Solomon for the wet spring weather. Most of them are fit to throw away, glued back together and stitched with fishing line, and just so smelly, so smelly my wife won't let me keep them in the cabin, so I hide them all around Green Gulch.

So I started packing, and while that fear of renunciation has arisen, it's not …

Vows and Compass

Being in new Orleans reminds me that my way seeking mind ripened here. Maybe it was the level of maturity my father's recovery actualized. Maybe it was the Ben Wren book I found at Beaucoup Books on my lunch break. Maybe it was my step mom's copy of things fall apart by Pema Chodron sitting in the bathroom.

Later I would witness the host of suffering post-katrina offered to a young public school teacher. How could I help? I took my first set of vows not really knowing where they would lead, like the old black metal compass my dad put in my Christmas stocking when I was about ten. Beautiful to hold, difficult to understand.

Now, years later, I feel a bit subdued as form,sensation, perception, impulse, and thought tag everything, beckoning some purchase for the price of belief. I'm home, but a home leaver. People wonder when I'll move back and being a home leaver means being ready to leave home again and again, which could mean coming back.

How will I actually engage all…